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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Red Wing in Goodhue County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff

 
 
Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 24, 2009
1. Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff Marker
Inscription. This bold bluff was a landmark for French explorers who named it Mt. La Grange for its resemblance to a large barn.

Some 10,000 years ago meltwater from the glaciers carved a deep channel in this area. Barn Bluff became an island in the five-mile wide river that then filled the valley.

The rock layers are shown at the left. The nearly vertical fault line visible at the bluff's southwest edge indicates a crack which developed millions of years ago. As a result the greater part of the bluff on the river side dropped 150 feet, leaving the bluff dolestone adjacent to the green sandstone at the fault line.

The bluff is 3100' long, 800' wide, 334' above the river and 1001' above sea level.

Limestone was quarried out of the Oneota stratum for about 40 years until stopped by citizen protest in 1908. In 1910 Barn Bluff was donated to the city for a public park.
 
Erected 1978 by the Red Wing Lions Club.
 
Location. 44° 34.083′ N, 92° 31.185′ W. Marker is in Red Wing, Minnesota, in Goodhue County. Marker can be reached from East 5th Street half a mile east of Bluff Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is southeast of the bluff, along the pathway
Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff Marker <i>[background]</i> image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 24, 2009
2. Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff Marker [background]
to the crest of the bluff. Marker is in this post office area: Red Wing MN 55066, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Kiwanis Stairway (a few steps from this marker); Barn Bluff (within shouting distance of this marker); The G.A. Carlson Lime Kiln (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Remember the Maine (approx. 0.3 miles away); Geology of Minnesota (approx. 0.4 miles away); William Colvill (approx. mile away); National Newspaper Association (approx. 0.8 miles away); T.B. Sheldon Memorial Auditorium (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Red Wing.
 
Regarding Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff. Barn Bluff, the City of Red Wing's most famous landmark, began forming over a half billion years ago as part of the floor of a shallow island sea; taking its current form as the result of raging glacial melt waters, which carved the Mississippi River Valley. Barn Bluff and its nearby neighbor, Sorin's Bluff, withstood most of the powerful erosion and became islands in the river.

Prehistoric humans lived in the area and built burial mounds on top of the bluff. About 800 years ago, the Mississippi culture thrived in the Red Wing area and archeologists believe that the many sites
Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 24, 2009
3. Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff
National Register of Historic Places #90001165
in and around Red Wing served as a northern trading terminus.

Sometime around the year 1815, the Mdewakanton Dakota led by Tatankamani (Walking Buffalo) also known as "Red Wing" by early Europeans and Americans, moved their camp to a place they called Khemnichan (Hill, Wood, Water) - close to Barn Bluff. The Mdewakanton used Barn Bluff as a lookout for approaching enemies and as a place of safety for women and children in time of war.

Explorers and visitors including Zebulon Pike, Major Stephen H. Long, Henry Schoolcraft, and Henry David Thoreau climbed the bluff and remarked about the beautiful scenic views Barn Bluff offered of the Mississippi valley.

Red Wing's early Euro-American settlers used the bluff as a lookout each spring in anticipation of the arrival of the first steamboat of the season. During the great immigration period of the 1850s' to 1880s', thousands disembarked at the base of Barn Bluff to begin a new life on the frontier.

From the mid 1800s' to 1908, stone from Barn Bluff was used as a building material, rip rap by the railroad, and for the production of lime. Although the stone industry was important to the local economy, residents protested the resulting defacing of the bluff and eventually saved Barn Bluff. Several abandoned quarries and the G.A. Carlson Lime Kiln (at the northeast corner of the bluff) remain as reminders
Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, July 22, 2011
4. Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff
of Red Wing's limestone industry.
—Barn Bluff sign, located at the open shelter shown in Photo #2
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceLandmarksNatural Features
 
Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, July 22, 2011
5. Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff
Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, July 22, 2011
6. Mt. La Grange – Barn Bluff
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 29, 2009, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,699 times since then and 94 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 29, 2009, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.   4, 5, 6. submitted on August 9, 2011, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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